Uttarakhand Stories

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal region that every Wanderer must Undertake

by Pragati Chauhan
Dec 13, 2016

Life is either a great adventure or nothing and if you haven’t made the most out of it, then you need to get off your comfy bed and pack your bags to explore some of these less explored treks in the Garhwal Himalayan region. To make your journey rewarding let’s dig into some of these offbeat treks and discover some outlandish trekking routes unwinding the dusty pathways, exotic nature, and the indigenous culture of Garhwal.

1. Budha Kedar Malla Trek

Unravelling the mystical beauty of the venerated Garhwal Himalayas, the Budha Kedar Malla trek is a slice of the ancient Gangotri to Kedarnath trail. This less trodden trek offers a completely riveting view of the entire mountain range of Yamunotri-Gangotri-Kedarnath-Badrinath.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

A village on the way to Panwalikantha. Photo: Rummy Dabola/facebook

The trek to Panwali Kantha features verdant meadows, offering a gorgeous panorama of the snow-shrouded peaks. Further, a downhill trek leads to Maghuchatti and thereafter to Gaurikund via Triyugi Narayan. From Gaurikund, the trek goes through a rough landscape to Kedarnath at 3,581 metres and from Kedarnath, you need to go downhill to Siyal Saur, after which your journey will end at Rishikesh.

2. Khatling Sahastra Tal Trek

This trek is a bit strenuous but rewarding as you’ll be greeted by the snow-crested peaks of Jogin group at 6,466 metres, Barte Kauter at 6,579 metres, Sphetic Pristwar at 6,905 metres, Kirti Stambh at 6,902 metres and Meru at 6,660 metres above sea level. The meandering trail will take you through the lush green fields and the dense woods which later ascend to two high altitude mountain passes. The further trail is marked by a rough stretch of moraines and a tricky glaciated trek which should be crossed carefully.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

You can enjoy the glimpse of Meru peak from this trek. Source

This trek can be commenced from Malla, a few hours drive from Uttarkashi. A mild climb will lead you to Kushkalyani via Sillachhan, thereafter passing through the alpine meadows, roaring waterfalls and the sparkling streams. Then from Kyarki Khal at 4,077 metres follow a short trail that passes through the pristine meadows, leading to Sahastra Tal via Pari Tal. The lavish realms of Sahastra Tal make it perfect for overnight camping. The trail follows several uphill and downhill treks that pave its way towards the Khatling Glacier via Kalyani at 2,683 metres, followed by Kharsoli at 2,896 metres. Taking a steep climb via Tambakund, the trek finally reaches Khatling Glacier followed by a downhill trek to Masar Tal at 3, 675 metres and Vasuki Tal at 4,135 metres. Finally, the trek descends to Kedarnath before concluding at Rudraprayag.

3. Khatling Masar Tal Trek

To some extent this trek follows the same route as the previous trek, the main highlight being that the trekkers can explore the lavish vistas of Masar Tal more peculiarly. The Khatling Masar Tal trek commences from the Malla, followed by Khush Kalyani via Sillachhan and thereafter turns to Pari Tal via Kyarki.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

Masar Tal Source

The trek becomes a bit strenuous from Kyarki and as you head towards Sahastra Tal at 5,000 metres followed by a downhill trek to Kalyani at 2,683 metres. From Kalyani, move to Tambakund via Kharsoli and climb towards Khatling Glacier perched at an altitude of 3,900 metres, followed by Chauki at 3,717 metres, the gateway to Masar Tal. The sublime lake of Masar Tal positioned at 3,675 metres on the left flank of Doodhganga Bamak is one of the alpine lakes of Garhwal region.The empyrean beauty of this place makes it a great campsite. A downhill trek from Masar Tal will take you to Kedarnath via Vasuki Tal before ending at Gaurikund.

4. Panwali Kantha Trek

Yet another unfathomable trek of the Garhwal Himalayan region, the Panwali Kantha trek showcases the lush green grasslands ranging from 2,745 metres to 3,970 metres, sprawling over the old pilgrim trail from Gangotri to Sri Kedarnath. Winding through the thick forests having an abundance of wild orchids, the Panwali Kantha trek is an absolute delight for the nature lovers and photographers.

The trek begins from Ghuttu which is around 190 km from Rishikesh and heads to Gurmanda. The trekking distance between Ghuttu and Gurmanda is approximately 10 km and heads to Panwali Kantha. The downhill trek follows the same route to Ghuttu and concludes at Rishikesh.

5. Gangi Budha Kedar Trek

This moderate trek is best suited for the Himalayan nomads looking out for adventure in the glorious hills of Garhwal. This riveting trek follows an offbeat and somewhat strenuous route that passes through the tiny hamlets. Gangi being the last village on the route is 20 km away from Reeh village. This hasty trek is one the most tedious journeys that you can experience in the Garhwal Himalayan region, offering a gorgeous vista of the Bhilangana valley. Traversing through several colossal lakes and glaciers, the Gangi Budha Kedar trek offers spectacular views of the snow-clad mountains and peaks including the Jogin group, Meru, Thalay Sagar etc.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

Glimpse of Gangi village Source

The trek starts from Reeh and moves towards Gangi, thereafter leading to Kharsoli at 2,896 metres. From Kharsoli, the route snakes to Chouki and follows Khatling zero point at 3,900 metres above sea level. After crossing the Mayali Pass, the trail goes downhill towards Kedarnath via Paniya Tal and Vasuki Tal. From Kedarnath, the trek will pave its way towards Gaurikund.

6. Panwali-Triyugi Narayan Trek

The Panwali-Triyugi Narayan trek is worth giving a try as it follows a completely different route that starts from Ghansali about 130 km from Rishikesh and leads to Ghuttu. The trek slowly rises up to Do Phund which is only 15 km away. From Do Phund, the trek opens up to an arresting view of the plush meadows and the first that you are going to embark on is Matya Bugyal. Hereafter, the trek leads to another opulent meadow called Panwali Kantha which is only 3 km away.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

Triyuginarayan Temple. Source

The trail further climbs to Taali Top and leads to Khinkhola Pass, which is about 4 km from Taali Top. A further downhill trail from Khinkhola Pass will take you to Triyugi Narayan, where you can visit an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. From there onwards, the trek snakes through a gentle route to Rambara via Gaurikund and thereafter to Kedarnath. Start descending to Kedarnath and head towards Gurikund again, the trek will come full circle in Srinagar.

7. Khatling-Kedarnath Trek

Being the revered source of river Bhilangna, the Khatling glacier standing in utmost glory at 3,900 metres is one of the least explored places in the Garhwal Himalayan region. This imperial glacier is tucked in between several majestic peaks including the Jogin group at 6,466 metres, Sphetic Pristwar at 6,905 metres, Barte Kauter at 6,579 metres, Kirti Stambh at 6,902 metres and Meru at 6,660 metres.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

Khatling glacier campsite. Source

The Khatling Glacier trek follows the usual route as mentioned in the Khatling Sahastra Tal trek which starts from Malla and is followed by Sillachhan and Kush Kalyani. Thereafter, a gradual climb from Kalayani to Kyarki Khal will take you to the high altitude lakes like Pari Tal and Sahastra Tal, followed by Tambakund via Kharsoli. After a steep climb over the glaciated track, you’ll finally conquer the Khatling Glacier. Go downhill to Masar Tal via Tambakund and soon after a gentle descend to Vasuki Tal to Kedarnath will take you to Rudraprayag.

8. Mussoorie-Pantwari-Nagtibba Trek

If you like hiking on the frosty paths then Mussoorie-Pantwari-Nagtibba Trek is perfect for you. The original trek route from Devalsari village commences from Pantwari at 1,100 metres and approximately a couple of hours drive from Mussoorie. Pantwari, a small village is the starting point of this off-beat trek in the Garhwal Himalayan region.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

Pantwari village, en-route Nagtibba Trek. Photo credit: clicksandtales

The trekkers need to take a steep climb from Pantwari. After crossing the alpine forests, the unspoiled meadows and the brooks ascend towards Nagtibba Base at 2,600 metres. The trek further crawls 2 km to Nagtibba Top at 3,050 metres, from where you can capture an unsullied view of the magisterial peaks of Swargarohini, Banderpunch, Neelkanth, Black Peak etc. The downhill trek follows through Tevagaon at 1,400 metres from the Jungle Campsite and leads off at Dehradun.

9. Thatyur-Devalsari-Nagtibba Trek

The adrenaline pumping, Thatyur-Devalsari-Nagtibba trek starts from Thatyur about 30 km from Mussoorie and tiptoes through the thick rhododendron and oak forests via Devalsari village, which is 7 km from Nag Tibba. Further, the trek to Nagtibba via Oothad and Chhanni winds through the forest grasslands, capturing admirable views of Swargarohini, Banderpunch, Neelkanth and Black Peak.

10 Off-beat Treks in Garhwal that every Wanderer must Undertake

Devalsari village which comes en-route this trek is also a home to hundreds of beautiful birds. Source

10. Khatling Trek

Blessed with the winsome beauty of the elevated meadows and the oak brown forests, the Khatling trek unveils some of the unexplored yet stunning vistas of Garhwal. The trek churns through the Bhilangana valley, offering an enchanting spectacle of the glaciers and beyond the panorama of Sahastra Tal on West and Masar Tal on the East side. This rewarding trek to Khatling glacier at 3,900 metres covers a total trekking distance of 90 km (uphill and downhill).

The trek starts from Ghuttu which is about 170 km drive from Rishikesh and leads to Gangi at 2,606 metres via Reeh at 1,524 metres. Follow a steep climb to Kharsoli at 3,110 metres through thick woodlands and an open meadow called Birodh. Take a steep climb to Bhedikharag at 3,700 metres and carefully cross the glaciated stretch. A further uphill trek will take you to Khatling glacier from where you can behold a breathtaking panorama of the snow-capped peaks of Jogin group at 6,466 metres, Sphatik Pristwar at 6,905 metres, Barte Kauter at 6,579 metres, Kirti Stambh at 6,902 metres and Meru at 6,660 metres. Go downhill follow the same route to Ghuttu and wrap up your journey at Rishikesh.

Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

4 Responses

Anil Says

Can you guide me or can give me details of local contact who can arrange kedar kantha trek in *winter*


i am an old person 66 years of age. i’ve never been to Ghuttu or adjoing area during my entire trekking life.This time I alongwith some of my co-trekkers want to go there in the month of October. We can at best devote 7 days for the trek.Pl suggest. We can reach Ghuttu on 12 th October. Pl also suggest name of a Guide who can accomplish the job professionally.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Go for the Budha Kedar Malla Trek!

gauri Says

Which one of these would you recommend for first timers ?